Two boxers from Nelson's Clifton Boxing Gym competed at the annual Ashburton boxing tournament held at the Celtic Rugby Club rooms on Saturday night.
Natalie Stuart won her first full, open class bout of four two-minute rounds against open class Dunedin boxer, Bridget Sefton, by a points decision of 7-4.
Coach Alan Dickey was rapt with her performance as this was her first really big test, stepping into the open class and doing four two-minute rounds rather than the three two-minute rounds novice boxers do.
To top that off, she competed in the middleweight division (under 75kg) when she normally competes as a welterweight (under 69kg).
Dickey said Stuart stuck to the fight plan and showed right from the opening bell that she meant business, winning every round in a stylish display of skill and fitness.
“I was really proud of her and she really repaid her gym mate, Dawn Dickey, for all the hard sparring she has put into her.”
Fourteen-year-old Marcus Jones, Nelson's open lightweight (under 60kg) cadet boxer was up next, once again stepping up to the junior division (15-16-year-olds) and competing against open junior boxer Ben Lewis.
Marcus won 2-0 in a very low-scoring bout, which was indicative of the tournament scoring. Both boxers are talented and it was a classy performance from both, showing their excellent defensive skills and great foot movement.
In the end, Marcus proved too good for Ben and won the bout assertively.
Clifton Boxing Gym manager Kendall Jones has been a big part of the team's success and the club is indebted to him.
Jones Sr does the gym's logistics, which lets Dickey focus on coaching his charges.
The team will travel to Christchurch the next three consecutive weekends with former age-group Tasman Mako and Stoke rugby representative Tyler McKinnon-Stevenson having his debut bout this weekend.
The team then heads to Brisbane for the Queensland Golden Gloves Championships at the end of the month, where teams from Australia, England and New Caledonia will be competing.
- The Nelson Mail